Yesterday I visited the Doctor. My blood pressure was sky high. I scared myself all day just thinking about it. That surprised me, because I was not really anxious until “the big day” came. Usually I am nervous for weeks before a visit to the doctor. Perhaps it was because I was so sick….
I arrived and did not wait long which was a relief. The doctor is a colon surgeon that does re-sections all the time. However, he took the time to explain everything to me, even the horrific complications that could occur. He then explained three categories of patients that usually have re-sections, or problems with diverticulitis.
Unfortunately he did not have all of my reports from previous cases. I told him about them the best I could.
This doctor is very conservative. I was glad to hear that. I am also considered a ‘mild case’, perhaps a complicated case if I keep getting diverticulitis, but not “complicated”. at this time…He suggested we wait and see if I get more flare ups and I how I do.He thinks this latest flare up was due to being on so many antibiotics and pain killers and being ‘bound up’ from the pain killers…not from food.
The complications are scary. I won’t go into graphic detail, but one that really scared me was called a “leak”. One can be in the hospital after a colon re-section and they are doing fine. The surgery keeps one in the hospital for about 4-5 days. Then the patient can go home and the re-section can ‘pull apart’ and leak into the body. Gross and scary. The patient then has to go back to the hospital, have another surgery and get a poop bag. A few months after healing, they then put it back together with no poop bag with a high rate of success. Anxiety reigned while hearing this!!
He told me that operations were often necessary when patients present with an abscess, perforation, or fistula. Sometimes operations are done in chronic cases (which he is calling mine) ….meaning that the patient has bouts of this yucky infection (disease) once a year or once every other year, or more than one time per year, and they just can’t stand it any longer.
There is no guarantee that you won’t have the condition again after a re-section. He said that most people, and they are getting younger, have diverticulosis. These are the ‘pouches’ in the intestines which puff out, which allow infection to set in. He only takes out the ‘bad spot’ so the other pouches can still get an infection…
5-10% of people that have this operation have complications. That’s not much one would think, but out of 100 people, 10 of them would maybe a have a problem…
Downtime for recovery is about 4-6 weeks and he said it is, (and this is a quote) a BIG operation. Even though he does it everyday, it’s a Big Deal. It’s not a “little operation”, even though they are now using laparoscopic surgery, a small incision and what not. He said that if one has an abscess, or perforation, or fistula, there is no choice. An operation must be done. Because I have only been hospitalized once with this yucky stuff, I am okay for now. Those that are hospitalized several times, or every time with a flare up are candidates for operations.
Mine is always in the same spot and I usually catch it before it becomes “full blown”. Geez, the pain is so bad, I hate to think of what it must feel like “full blown”…..The medicines are atrocious that must be taken in order to heal.
I felt very comfortable with the surgeon. He was not scary, he was very thorough and he had no problem answering all of my questions, nor telling me about complications. I am glad that I don’t have to have surgery at this time. If I ever do, I hope that I am just too sick to care…